Thursday, July 10, 2014

Railway Budget 2014- Presenting an Optimistic Roadmap for India’s Commerce, Industries and Trade

Does the Railway budget present an optimistic road-map for India’s commerce, industries and trade?

The move of the railway ministry to raise the railway ticket fares by 14.9% was not welcomed by the citizens of India. Citizens still express discontentment regarding ministry’s method of financing the railway budgets by taking money from common man’s pocket alone for the mismanagement of the previous Government.

However, industry experts comment that the Railway Budget 2014 is the most practical budget till now. Vineet Agarwal, MD of Transport Corporation of India says, “This railway budget presents an optimistic roadmap for all the logistics players. The plan to initiate high speed trains will fulfill the long pending demand for well-timed delivery of goods as well as services. We hope that the continuous push to electrification, gauge conversion and new lines will make the railways and the logistics sector more efficient.”

The logistics is the backbone of a country’s trade, commerce and industries to flourish. With moves towards refurbishing the logistics of India, it presents a picture of highly modernized India with flourishing trade and commerce over a period of time.

FDI in the Railway sector and Public Private Partnership route (PPP) for future infrastructure projects will have an optimistic impact and create the foundation for new lines with advanced and enhanced capacities along with attracting huge investments to fund the 367 pending infrastructure projects worth lakhs of crores. This will help to achieve better Road Vs rail ratio. This will act as a catalyst for smooth freight movement thereby reducing huge logistics costs. This will prove to be a great step for the success of India’s industry, logistics, distribution and commodity players.

Below I have summarized the key factors mentioned in this year’s Railway Budget which will take India’s industry, trade and commerce to a new level benefiting everyone. The following moves if implemented with determination and executed to the fullest will transform India to be one of the largest trade hubs generating employment to millions of Indian citizens. 
They are-
  • ·     Connecting Ports & speeding up current delayed projects is surely a welcoming announcement. This will eliminate bottlenecks from the logistics sector. This will help the Railways to keep in pace easily with logistics requirements of various small, medium and large industries of India thus uplifting India’s industry, trade and commerce to new levels.
  • ·     Another welcoming move is to eliminate the wastage of fruits and vegetables due to current inadequate distribution and logistics measures. This is one of the main reasons for the price hike in these goods due to the goods getting wasted or spoilt or not able to reach the designated places on time due to improper supply chain. If the fruits and vegetables are transported via AC storage facilities then it will surely transform India’s food supply chain. This move will create positive impact on the availability, costs and quality of the transported goods.

Another good feature which shows a good intent is the move of skill development of staff members. It will make the staff more skilled and develop useful knowledge. This is very important considering that technology is one of the main focus areas to modernize the railways. In order to leverage the power of technology optimally there is a need for skilled workers. The railway minister has expressed plans to tie up with advanced technical institutions and introduce railway oriented subjects for graduation & skill development of all the staff members. The ground level staff will be sent for certain short duration courses relating to technical and non-technical nature. The exposure for expert & specialized areas like high-speed and heavy haul operations will be undertaken for all staff levels & officers at appropriate and deemed institutes of India & abroad.

All these moves are very inspiring. Also Railway minister’s aim of transforming India into the largest and most efficient Railways and biggest freight carriers present a picture of modernized India. However, this must be backed up with a clear roadmap with the determination to execute all these measures time successfully. The moves must be monitored with time-bound milestones as only then will we all people will witness an India of flourishing trade, commerce and industry generating employment for all and transforming India as a trade and commerce hub.


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